Market News

 March 10, 2009
EPA Launches Greenhouse Gas Reporting Plan

 GLOBE-Net - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed the first comprehensive national system for reporting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced by major sources in the United States.

The new plan for a carbon registry would affect fossil fuel suppliers, automakers and companies that emit at least 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases a year, the EPA said in a statement.

The U.S. government already has statistics on emissions from coal-fired power plants, which also emit carbon dioxide. Some 13,000 facilities, accounting for about 85 percent to 90 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, would be covered under the proposal.

"Our efforts to confront climate change must be guided by the best possible information," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Through this new reporting, we will have comprehensive and accurate data about the production of greenhouse gases. This is a critical step toward helping us better protect our health and environment - all without placing an onerous burden on our nation’s small businesses."

In developing the reporting requirements, EPA considered the substantial amount of work already completed and underway in many states, regions and voluntary programs. Forty-one states already participate in a voluntary plan, called The Climate Registry, which measures and reports greenhouse emissions.

The reporting threshold of 25,000 metric tons per year is roughly equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from just over 4,500 passenger vehicles. The vast majority of small businesses would not be required to report their emissions because their emissions fall well below the threshold.

The direct emission sources covered under the reporting requirement would include energy intensive sectors such as cement production, iron and steel production, and electricity generation, among others.

The first annual report would be submitted to EPA in 2011 for the calendar year 2010, except for vehicle and engine manufacturers, which would begin reporting for model year 2011.

EPA estimates that the expected cost to comply with the reporting requirements to the private sector would be $160 million for the first year. In subsequent years, the annualized costs for the private sector would be $127 million.

The EPA plan is being welcomed by key lawmakers, including California Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, who helped provide $3.5 million to EPA to set up a greenhouse gas emissions registry for all sectors of the U.S. economy by June 26, 2009.

On a parallel track, a draft EPA presentation made public by the online publication Greenwire indicates the agency plans to issue a so-called endangerment finding in mid-April that calls greenhouse pollution a danger to human health.

EPA is developing this rule under the authority of the Clean Air Act. The proposed rule will be open for public comment for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Two public hearings will be held during the comment period.

More information on the proposed rule: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ghgrulemaking.html